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Mon September 28 2020

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Rail industry sets out £10bn vision

30 Sep 11 The rail industry has published a wishlist of more than £10bn of works that it says would save £1.3bn a year on industry running costs.

The Initial Industry Plan (IIP) sets out the rail industry’s vision for improved value for money for the period 2014-19.

A combination of savings and growth would be achieved through initiatives already in hand, greater cross-industry collaboration and changes in the way government procures passenger rail services.

The aim of the plan is to make rail more affordable and so give governments the opportunity to make choices on the balance between investment, fares and subsidy when taking decisions on future transport policy.

Network Rail claims that if its proposals were adopted in full, they would:

• Stimulate economic growth by better linking major cities - providing an additional 180,000 seats at peak time - and accommodating a 30% increase in rail freight tonne kilometres

• Maintain high levels of reliability and safety, focussing on areas in particular need of improvement

• Better meet passengers’ needs in key areas such as journey information, comfort and accessibility to drive continued improvement in customer satisfaction

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• Reduce the industry’s carbon emissions per passenger kilometre by 25%.

The full range of investment options includes completion of key projects already under way, such as Thameslink, Crossrail and committed electrification schemes, valued at £4.9bn in the five years to 2019.

It also includes proposals with a value of up to a further £5.6bn, such as the Northern Hub and electrification of the Midland Main line and North Transpennine. These investment proposals could generate social and economic benefits for the country worth 4.5 times the cost of the schemes, according to Network Rail.

Network Rail group strategy director Paul Plummer said: "The railways are booming with more and more people choosing rail. Closer collaboration within the industry will deliver even more efficiencies. This revenue growth and improved efficiency taken together provide governments with real choices to consider, choices around the appropriate balance between investment, fares and subsidy."

Railway Industry Association director general Jeremy Candfield said: "This plan shows that the railway industry can work together in a genuine partnership to improve efficiency. Strategic planning and greater certainty of future workloads are vital to the delivery of the further cost reductions that we all want to see."

Schemes proposed include:

  • The Northern Hub - a £560m scheme to deliver more than 700 extra daily services between Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield
  • Further electrification - Midland main line, North Trans-Pennine, Cardiff Valleys and further schemes in Scotland
  • Further development of the freight network to provide capacity for a 30% increase in freight tonne kilometres - equivalent to 15,000 lorry journeys per day
  • Journey time improvements in the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Bristol and Oxford areas
  • Some 600 extra new train carriages to take advantage of these capacity enhancing infrastructure schemes
  • Improvements for medium-to-large- size stations such as Fenchurch Street, Wimbledon and Liverpool Central
  • £200m scheme to improve journey times and increase the numbers of services to and from Inverness and Aberdeen and to the commuter network of the two cities
  • New operating strategy - moving from 800 signal boxes to 14 modern signalling centres (30 year time-frame).

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